The Belkin card’s external antenna has a plastic cover
that comes off easily, revealing the dipole inside. To
assemble the cantenna, just solder the outer part of
the dipole to a hole drilled in the side of the can and
let the inner wire stick straight into the center.
Then add the mount of your choice.
4"-diameter coffee can, the dipole element
needed to be 1. 12" tall, and placed 2" from the
back of the can. When I hacked into the cheap
Belkin card and measured the inner wire of its
antenna, I was happy to find it was just about
the right length.
1. Acquire a 13-ounce coffee can, or similar metal
can ( 4" diameter).
2. Drill a
6" (or so) hole, 2" from the back of the
can, measuring from the inside, not the outer lip.
The hole should be about the size of the dipole
antenna you’re modifying.
3. Cut the plastic covering off the antenna, to
reveal a metal tube surrounding an inner wire.
These are the 2 elements of the dipole.
4. Insert the antenna into the hole so that the
inner wire sticks in about 11". Use rosin-core
solder to connect the antenna’s metal tube, the
shielding element, to the can. Solder from outside,
making a good, thick solder bead around the
edge of the hole. I used “helping hands” alligator
clips to keep the antenna in position.
5. Add a mount of your choice. I made a simple
one by cutting up the original antenna cover and
adding a zip tie.
NOTE: You can use this same design on the router
side. My Linksys WRT54GS has 2 dipole antennas,
and you could cantenna-fy it by unscrewing one
of them and substituting a can-enhanced pigtail
antenna with a Linksys-compatible connector.
Will O’Brien pulls espresso and modifies innocent kitchen
appliances somewhere in middle Missouri.